June 17, 2020

The Sin of Staying Silent

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 17, 2020

If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible. Leviticus 5:1

I am convicted by the Holy Spirit to speak up about racism. It’s a double sin to remain silent for racism is a sin and to not speak up about racism is a sin. Dr. Martin Luther King said it so well:

There comes a time when silence is betrayal. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.  In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends…For evil to succeed, all it needs is for good men to do nothing. 

Silence is agreement, so loving people speak up. Sometimes, it is easier to remain silent, but God has not called us to a path of least resistance. He wants us to speak up under the influence of His Spirit. Even if the words are hard and direct, God’s Spirit can deliver them in a loving manner.

When we speak up, it means we care. We love the person too much to allow them to hurt themselves and others with self-inflicted attitudes and inappropriate actions. Pride and ego keep us from being vulnerable to rejection or relational controversy, but we owe it to God, to others, and ourselves to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Love compels us to take a relational risk and say something. Be faithful to speak the words, and trust God with the results.

Make sure to speak up and defend those who are defenseless. Rise to the defense of widows, orphans, and the poor who are crushed under the weight of the world’s injustice. You may not have to look very far. There may be family members who need your attention. Second, third, and fourth chances are called for to model Christ’s attitude of acceptance. Your reputation may become soiled because you choose to speak up on behalf of a seedy soul, but trust God. We can relate best to sinners because we suffer from the same temptations and sorrows. Christians are sinners saved by the grace of God, and no one is beyond God’s reach.

Speak up for those suffering under the yoke of racism. Literally and figuratively they cannot breathe with the knee of racial oppression on their neck. Our criminal justice system chokes them without the air of proper legal representation and a fair trial. Our education system takes care of the privileged few with little air of opportunity for those in the minority culture. Economic prosperity is out of reach in the rarefied air only accessed by the higher levels of the social elite. When we decided to follow Jesus, we signed up to speak up for those with small voices. 

Followers of Jesus must speak up with outrage and empathy when our brothers and sisters suffer death from race motivated violence. Comfort in Christ’s name helps heal hurting hearts. Ongoing conversations with our black and brown friends educates us in how to love in an understanding way. Relational engagement grows a compassionate community of justice for all, in Jesus’ name.

We sin if we stay silent over racism, but when we speak up in love we overcome evil with good.

“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” (James 4:17).


Lord, please give me courage to speak up against the injustice of racism, in Jesus’ name, amen.


Who can I get to know and love, who is culturally different from me?

Related Reading

Genesis 1:27; Acts 10:34,17:26; Galatians 3:26-28; Colossians 3:11

Enjoy Boyd’s newest and well loved 40 day devotional book: Wisdom For Living. Wise living is all about the Lord Jesus Christ. What is His best? What is His will?

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We sin if we stay silent over racism, but when we speak up we overcome evil with good. #WisdomHunters #speakup #truth #Jesus

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